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March 7, 2012

The Doorman
by Liz McKeon - 0

By WICF Performer Kathleen Campbell

Tonight I had an audition. The first one in over a year. For a Disney show. It came in late the night before and I canceled my catering gig to do it. I had a long day to think about it and do a million other things.

About two hours before, I started obsessively cleaning out my purse. Where is that important piece of paper? Aha! In a pile on the dining room table. I cleared out all the clutter and empty gum wrappers. Put my change in my change purse. Got rid of the expired coupons. Where are the square glass earrings? Last I remember,  I set them on the side of the tub. Did they go down the drain? I hope not. Pulled out five of the six pens I had and then put one back, just in case. All the while, saying the lines that came out of my mouth like pretentious lead balloons. I kept doing it till it sounded like me talking. Why does that happen, I wonder?

Did I have a picture and resume? Found one. Stapled it and cut the edges. Had some calming tea. Put some product in my hair. Combed it out. Put more product in my hair. I know, a barrette. Found the chain for my granny glasses. They fit the character and if I need to read something they'll come in handy. Makeup. Wipe off the extra. Try to remain calm. 

Okay, it's almost time to go. I think I know my lines. Last trip to the bathroom. Steal some of Michaela's eye shadow. Not sanitary, I know. Out the door. No Dusty you can't come. I pushed her away with my purse. Sneak out the door and I'm off. Ken is going to pick up Richard. Don't ask him if he's seen the earrings. It's not important.

First, I sit in the car and put on the mascara I remembered I left in the crack of the seat. This is the rental Chrysler that I've been driving since I got rear ended by the kid texting in a Mercedes two weeks ago. Checked my lines a few times. I'm early. I head out. I pass my daughter and her friend walking down the street. Should I honk?  Should I call her? No, concentrate. I try to relax my whip-lashed neck muscles and press the acupuncture point on my hand. It helps some. Just as I exit the highway, I think about something in my purse and look for it. Not there. Where is it? My purse is not there. I left it at home. In the bathroom. No money. No ID. Do I go back? I can't, I'll be late. I trust that somehow I will find a meter with some time on it on a Friday night at Hollywood and Vine.

Damn, like I wasn't nervous enough. Not that I need this job, but I NEED THIS JOB! We have bills and no money and I have just enough gas to get there and back. I drove through traffic, cursing my stupidity. I remembered from years back that there was a street by the Pantages that had meters that stopped at 6. I found a spot.  A free spot. I walked to my audition past homeless people with carts and people out for a night on the town. I pass the Pantages. I pass the bar looking for an address and then I see the number. I read the buzzer and thought about how I should have brought a warmer sweater and was about to press it when a smiling doorman opened the door for me and said,

"Here for casting?"

"Yes, I am." 

"Come right in."

I walked into the old timey lobby with a checkerboard floor and leather couches somewhat flustered and confused. I have so few auditions that half the battle is not too let my heart thump into my ears and my stomach rise up into my throat. The nice man who was wearing a doorman's cap sensed this and walked me a few steps to the book to sign in. I'm thinking, he's going to ask to see my ID and I don't have it. 

"Put your name there, what time is it? 6:50 " he says. I am paused. He writes it for me. "Suite 505." He points. I write. "And sign right there." 

I didn't think to put on the granny glasses that would have helped me. 

"No one else signed it." 

"You sign it and lead the way. They'll all follow you." He smiled the nicest smile ever. Then he walked me a few more steps to the elevator door, and said, "Suite 505. The door will be open." He pressed the elevator button for me. "By the way, I love your backpack. It's so colorful. Goes with everything." I had thrown on the multi-hued checkered Yaki Sak backpack I keep in the car so I wouldn't be obviously lacking a purse. I look about 12. I smiled. It's a Disney show. Whatever.

From then on, I was fine. The doorman had made me feel so at home. I waited. I saw people I knew. I knew almost every lady on the list up for the same part; character, comedy, improv ladies, 40-50. I thought about how much better they'd be than me. My son called and I whispered that I left my purse in my best Library voice like the sign told me to by the sign in sheet. 

"I am at an audition so I have to be quiet. I left my purse at home but I found a parking spot. I'm okay." 
The backpack that goes with everything.

"I love you, Mom."  

"Love you, too."

I auditioned and was not very nervous. I walked out and down the elevator. When I reached the lobby, although there were other people coming and going, he was waiting for me.

"How'd it go?" He asked, searching my face for clues.

"It went good!" He smiled that smile.

"I knew it would, I had a feeling. You have a beautiful face. You have a good evening now. " He ushered me back out into the cold windy night onto Hollywood Blvd.

"I will. You too!" I said, not able to find words better than that. 

I walked to my car with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. What a lovely person. I didn't even care if I got the part or not. It was a good experience. I'm going to be nicer to people from now on because it really changed my day what this man did for me. Even when the no-gas light went on a block before I got home, I just figured, it figures. There's nothing I can do now. I did my best and I'm beautiful. A stranger told me so.

"The Doorman" is currently featured under stories that moved the editors of Divine Caroline

Kathleen Campbell is an actress, improviser, poet and writer. She grew up in Wayland, MA and graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in Acting. She's toured with The Second City in Chicago and improvises in L.A. with THE ALL GIRL REVUE. She's a member of SAG, AFTRA and AEA. She has published poetry in Creative Humans Magazine and short stories in Divine Caroline. She lives in Glendale, CA with her family that she loves.

Kathleen will be performing at WICF 2012 with All Girl Revue on two nights of the festival:
All Girl Revue, Jon and Eddie Show, Somebody's in the Doghouse - Friday, March 23, 2012, 8:00 pm at ImprovBoston (mainstage)
Improv Showcase with All Girl Revue, The Law Firm, and The Windy Pendejos
- Saturday, March 24, 2012, 9:00 pm at ImprovBoston (studio)

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